Three companies have formed a partnership to push the Debian Linux operating system to major retail stores in a move to sharpen its public profile.
VA Linux Systems, IT book publisher O'Reilly Associates and SGI have clubbed together to package the operating system into a CD-Rom, to enhance availability. It was previously available via an Internet download, unlike Red Hat and Caldera distributions which can be bought off the shelf.
Sales profit will be donated to a non-profit organisation for open source projects, Software in the Public Interest.
According to VA, Debian Linux is the most popular non-commercial version of the operating system, with over 500 volunteer developers worldwide maintaining more than 2500 free software packages.
The company added that Debian's most popular feature is apt-get which automates free network downloads of all software package updates, making the Debian CD the last CD a user would ever need to keep up to date with Linux.
Wichert Akkerman, project leader at Debian, said: "The combined sponsorship of VA, O'Reilly and SGI is a unique effort allowing everyone to try the non-commercial Debian distribution."
The package costs $19.95 and includes a CD of 1440 open source software packages, along with Bill McCarty's Learning Debian GNU/Linux published by O'Reilly.
O'Reilly will offer the book for free online under the open publication licence.
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